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Summary Judgment and the New Florida Standard

Just before the new year, the Florida Supreme Court changed the summary judgment standard in order to align with the federal standard. This ruling marks a significant move in the world of lawsuits and claims.

So what exactly is a summary judgment, the standard, and what can it mean for you if you’re pursuing a civil lawsuit? Read more below. 

What is a summary judgment standard?

A summary judgment typically involves judges deciding the outcome of lawsuits without jury trials. Essentially, in the situations of summary judgment, it’s the judge who will review all of the facts, hear the arguments, and then render a judgment. This is different from a trial, where a jury makes the decision and renders a verdict. 

Old versus New Standard

Summary Judgment decisions are guided by standards that are put in place. The recent Florida Supreme Court ruling specifically changed the state standard for determining whether judges should grant summary judgment in civil lawsuits. The new standard will follow the federal standard, which is more relaxed. The federal standard states that “the court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”

What this change means

By adjusting the standard for summary judgment, the Florida Supreme Court has made it clear that summary judgment shouldn’t be viewed or used as a replacement for a trial when a trial is necessary. This usually occurs when there are no material facts that can be disputed. For example, if the plaintiff experiences a slip-and-fall in a grocery store and there is video evidence of it, that’s a fact that cannot be disputed, and it could end in a motion for summary judgment. 

Why having an experienced attorney is important

If you’re a party in a civil case, specifically if you’re the plaintiff, it’s imperative that you consult an experienced attorney. Since the opposing party may file a motion for summary judgment, you need someone who will present all the facts thoroughly and will build a solid case for you. Without this, you might not win your case or receive all the compensation you deserve.

Brooke Boltz and civil lawsuits

A seasoned and passionate attorney, Brooke Boltz has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to civil lawsuits. She represents clients in personal injury, insurance, and more, and she does everything in her power to present the strongest case to the judge.  

If you’ve been injured in an accident or have an insurance dispute, contact Brooke Boltz today. Brooke fights for her clients to get the compensation they deserve. If you believe you have a case, schedule your free phone consultation with Brooke now.

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